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Friday, August 10, 2012

Mission to Mexico, Homeschool Plans, and Growing Chicks

We got back from Baja, Mexico almost a week ago. We had a fabulous time serving and growing in God. I took my two oldest children (Hannah, 12 and Joshua, 9) with me, and we were three of 64 people building three houses in four days.
This is me nailing together a roof piece.

My daughter, Hannah, helped roof the outhouse
My son, Josh, nailed the flashing along the roof edge
Our family (from left to right): Maricia (single mother), Alfonso (13), Maribel (21) and her baby girl, Luisa (15), and Patricia (18)

My children and I were very touched by what we saw and experienced. My son, especially, was surprised by the poverty level compared to what he was used to. He was ready to move to Mexico and help the people full-time.

Josh played sports with Alfonso every single day.
Josh playing with little 2yo Maria
It was so awesome to see the joy on the mother's face to receive this home! In America, we would consider a home like that a place to store our lawn equipment. But to her, it was everything. She kept clapping her hands, saying, "Gracias!" and, "Porque de Dios!" which means, "Because of God!" This home will give this single mother and her children the jump start they need for a brighter future!

My pastor-husband and I believe every Christian should go on one missions trip in their life. This Baja, Mexico missions trip, which we took with some good friends and their ministry, StudentReach, was the perfect introduction to missions for my kids and anyone who has never been on a missions trip before. Please check out their website for future dates and other trips they will be leading.

I must admit, I'm quite behind schedule with preparing for this upcoming school year. We moved into our new country home a month ago, then we went to Mexico for seven days, and a day after returning, my parents arrived for a visit. They just left a two days ago. I feel so disoriented and still trying to set my feet on solid ground. I'm thankful I did as much planning for the school year as I possibly could before we moved .

This year, I will be schooling all five of my children.
  • Hannah - 8th grade
  • Joshua - 4th grade
  • Luke - 2nd grade
  • Noah & Nathan - Kindergarten
My homeschool philosophy includes several approaches:
  • The main reason we homeschool is to build our children's character, guard negative outside influences, and ultimately see that they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Academics is secondary, for us.
  • We also believe strongly that much learning takes place in everyday life, especially now that we are building a farm. Caring for newborn animals and tending gardens, building shelters and making repairs, managing personal finances and cooking meals for a large family, all are important learning opportunities for our children that prepare them for real life.
  • One of my goals for each child is to teach them how to teach themselves, therefore, moving them towards more independent learning. For that reason, I focus the first part of my day on the littlest ones, while the older ones work on their lessons independently.
  • I will work hard to manage screen time this school year. With lessons and farm work, there won't be much time to waste with computers, Wii, and TV. We limit screen time to one hour a day, and it must be used after all lessons and work are completed.

Our daily schedule will look like this:
  1. I wake before the children to spend time with Jesus and get a jump start on my day.
  2. Children awake and read their Bibles and pray independently.
  3. Personal chores: everyone showers or gets dressed, brushes teeth, and tidies their bedroom and bathroom.
  4. We work on morning chores, including starting laundry (each room has their own laundry day)
  5. Breakfast Bar (I lay out several healthy options for the children to serve themselves); do any necessary preparations for dinner
  6. Family devotions/Bible class - this fall, I am going to try something new, as I've been really looking for a curriculum I could use like an actual Bible class - going verse by verse through the Bible with my kids - I just ordered Bible Study Guide for All Ages - we'll see how it goes
  7. Kindergarten: Math - Time4Learning; Phonics - MCP Plaid; Handwriting - Zaner Bloser; Journaling; and Reading
  8. Snack
  9. Core Subjects: Math, Language Arts, Science, & History (Story of the World)
  10. Lunch
  11. Other Subjects: Health & Safety, Technology, Vintage Remedies for Tweens, etc. - (quiet time for little ones)
  12. Afternoon chores; farm/house projects
  13. Screen time - snack
  14. Extra-curriculars: all five kids are taking music lessons on Wednesdays, two boys are playing basketball this fall, the other three kids are doing gymnastics for their PE, and my daughter goes to youth group on Wed nights
  15. Dinner
  16. Family Time
That's what I have so far. I have purchased all my books, and for the most part, they're all in my lesson plan book. Just putting final touches on everything. We will start Monday, August 20th.

Our chicks are growing so fast. When I got back from Mexico, I couldn't believe how much bigger they were. They're almost four weeks old, and I'm starting to let them out to peck around in a pen outside during the day.
This is Noah, my 5yo, with one of the 3wk old chicks

Unfortunately, while we were in Mexico, a visiting friend was holding a chick and dropped it, only for it to be snatched up by one of our beagles. That particular beagle has been giving us trouble since we moved here, and this was the straw that broke the camels back. We know that, once a dog gets a taste for killing another animal, they will want more. We made the tough decision to find a new home for that beagle. It was sad, but she really was better suited for the city life.

And that's what's been happening around Heritage Farm...

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